Tarrant County confirms 1st West Nile case this season

Tarrant County has its first confirmed case of the West Nile Virus this season.

The health department says the patient has the less severe case of West Nile, and lives in the northwest part of the county.

The city of Fort Worth spends six months out of the year setting and testing traps to find disease carrying mosquitoes.

This year has seen relatively calm for West Nile activity, but the experts say mosquitoes become more active as the summer warms up.

The CDC says the West Nile Virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne illnesses in the United States.

On Wednesday, the Tarrant County Public Health Department confirmed the first case of the year in Tarrant County.

"It's a little bit terrifying, definitely," said Teraney Allen, who lives in Fort Worth. "It makes me want to keep my baby inside more."

Tracking mosquitoes carrying the disease is a joint effort between the University of North Texas Health Science Center and Fort Worth Code Compliance.

"We provide the traps, and they provide the expertise," Elmer Depaula.

Depaula works in the Environmental Management Division of code compliance.

He says 70 Mosquito traps are placed in various locations around the city. Inside of them is dirty water.

"The smell, so to speak, attracts the mosquito, and the mosquito, there is a fan that actually sucks the mosquito. Whatever is around the trap is sucked into a net," Depaula said.

Each week, UNT grad students make their rounds to collect the traps.

"They take it to the lab, they sort the mosquitoes that we are after, and we test for West Nile Virus," Depaula said.

Depaula says the city's first positive West Nile mosquito sample this year was found on Thursday, August 1, near Hanger Avenue.

To warn residents, code compliance has put out signs as a reminder to protect yourself from being bitten.

They also sent out a letter informing people that a "positive West Nile sample" was found in their neighborhood.

"We need to alert the public, that's pure transparency right there, so that they can take the steps to prevent that disease," Depaula said.

That prevention includes things like covering up, wearing repellant, and getting rid of water around your home.

After a positive sample, code compliance officers will inspect the area to look for mosquito-breeding grounds.

Spraying is done when officials find both consecutive positive samples and high mosquito activity.